Report - - Deep Ochre | UK Draining Forum | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Deep Ochre




Yep the uk is certainly the place to be as far as new drain exploration is concerned, and today JD and I have found a goodan!

With only 25% explored it's now the UK's second best drain already and chasing up fast behind the Westbourne.

How does 5 miles of dry 8ft red brick, amazing victorian drop shafts and a unbelievable junction chamber sound?

In places, this red brick monster is 70 feet under our nations capital and worthy of it's name!!!

My pics are obviously awaiting developing but below are a few of JD's digital examples.

Still need to:

Fully explore all 3 yellow brick tunnels that lead into the chamber

Photograph the dropshaft somehow

Photograph big concrete ass chamber and wier penstock thing

One more thing...head downstream - still 3 miles left to explore!!!








This christmas see's further exploration of "Deep Ochre"

Hopefully we will make it down to the Thames!




Some kind of wooden door perhaps? I wonder if that's original? Either way, excellent photography, but I still don't understand how you know if you're going to get washed away or not... or perhaps that's the point? Inspiring stuff for sure...
Yeah, it's a wooden penstock, designed to adjust the amount of flow passing through the tunnel.

JD knocked this up..


Naming a drain you have found is awesome! It has to be called that for the rest of time lol, drain etiquette you see!!



JD's pics and write up.

We returned to Deep Ochre today, in the company of Nel58 and a great pleasure it was to meet and explore with you Nel I must say! :)

We planned to explore as much as the unchartered downstream section as possible. From our access to the Thames is approx 2.5 miles, along that length was estimated to be four or five major features, where the storm relief is cut across by various West - East intercepting sewers. Myself and Stoop both had awful days photographically, infact Stoop didn't even take his camera out of his bag to consider taking any pics, I think that's a condition refered to as Dsankt syndrome? I took a few pics which are worth posting up for illustrative purposes to accompany this text.

So from our access we headed out downstream, there was a tiny bit more water present than last time, but still miniscule amounts really, a pleasant quarter hour stroll through a red brick paradise saw us reach our first feature. A circular side pipe, edged in blue brick revealed an ascending stairway, from the main pipe looking in it looked like something from a hobbit house, I didn't get a picture from the main pipe, but I think Nel did.


I got this picture, from the top of the stairway looking back down.

The steps were incredibly slippery, luckily there was a handrail. They lead up and into a concrete topped, brick sided overflow chamber, through which flowed the Mid Level number 1 sewer, behind a retaining wall topped off with wooden shoring.


That's the sewer to the right there, with the stairway access at the far end.

Continuing on in the main pipe we passed another circular red brick side pipe of standing height, I'm not sure yet what this one was, and as we wanted to get as much of the main section done it remains unexplored for now. Another ten or twelve minutes or so walking, passing various manhole access shafts and we reach two side pipes on opposite sides of the mainpipe. They are a smaller branch of another storm relief (The Ratcliff Storm relief), and from the angle they intersect the main pipe, and the yellow brick of their construction, it's clear they once were a single pipe, later intersected by Deep Ochre.


Looking downstream, the Western/right hand side pipe of the Ratcliff relief branch.

The Ratcliff side branch was only around 3Ft in height and at half a mile to reach the Ratcliff relief proper we chose to continue on further downstream in Deep Ochre. At this point the red brick gave way to rather boring concrete pipe and the water level showed a significant rise, though not worryingly, more so due to silting further downstream. So, on we go again, next major feature to be the Low Level Number 2 sewer. Much concrete pipe later we reach the intercepting wall that diverts the flow from the main pipe.


Nel and Stoop changing batteries in Nel's head torch.

By this point, from the depths of our access, due to the Thames valley, we're now only around 15ft underground, and the diverted flow is sent into the Low level intercepting sewer which runs beneath deep Ochre. The flow goes via a side chamber, through a passage way, and drops down a vertical shaft into the sewer below! A huge iron gate kept open via an equally huge chain to the opposing wall could be closed to prevent the flow entering the sewer, we left it alone! We did however watch the bloated, disintegrating corpse of a sewer rat get slowly swept into the side chamber and then dragged down the drop shaft, at the bottom of which it likely no longer existed as anything recognisable.


The diverted flow on the Low Level #2.

The concrete pipe continued for a while, the water level didn't rise any more, but didn't drop either, eventually the red brick returned and we walked on a little happier to be surrounded by brick once more. Pressing on we were expecting to hit another interceptor, hitting the big beam torch down the tunnel what we actually saw was the sealed end. Iron gates closed the end of the pipe off from the Thames tide, we didn't know whether the other side of the flap was 8 ft underwater or not? A side passage way gave access to a manhole shaft, 15 ft up to a similar cover by which we had entered. We knew we were at the end, right by the Thames, and so this cover could only be placed on the embankment. Stoop waited listening for a while and when he felt confident the cover was not in a roadway he popped it a little, enough to see through, to get a glimpse of well kept lawns. Being as I looked the more official of out trio, with by tellytubbie/Egon Spengler-esq boiler suit, I went up and opened the cover, much to the surprise of passing dog walkers and joggers.

We all got out, and via another cover less than a metre away accessed the other side of the outfall flap, under the embankment. The tide was coming in, but was still pretty low. You can see in the pic below that the tide covers the outfall a good three quarters up its height.


Nel at the outfall.

We (read I) decided it'd be cool to walk back topside. Although the walk seemed to reach a point where we were entirely lost, looking now at maps we were always pretty well on the right route back to our access. What was 2.5 miles of drain equated to 4.5 miles above ground!

It was a great explore, REALLY great to meet Nel, shame about the photo situation on my part, but we plan to return to photograph and explore more and more thoroughly, so no great concern! Also Nel got some cool piccies which I'm looking forward to seeing. :) Hoooooorah!


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